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The ERC—10 years promoting cutting-edge research at IRB Barcelona

17 Mar 17




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IRB Barcelona has received 18 M € funding for 11 projects in the fields of Life Sciences and of Physics and Engineering.

The European Research Council (ERC) is celebrating its 10th anniversary. Since it was set up in 2007, IRB Barcelona has received funding for 11 projects in the fields of Life Sciences and Physics and Engineering.

ICREA researcher, Eduard Batlle received one of the first grants given by this organisation, an ERC Starting Grant, which was followed by an ERC Advanced Grant in 2013 and an ERC Proof of Concept in 2014. 

“We have been able to make seminal contributions to colon cancer research thanks to the continued support of the ERC over 10 years,” says Eduard Batlle. “Amongst other important findings, ERC funding has allowed us to identify colon cancer stem cells and one of the mechanisms they use to spread the disease. We are exploiting this information -also with the support of ERC- to develop a test aimed to predict cancer relapse after therapy in colon cancer patients.”

In 2011, three group leaders at IRB Barcelona received funding through Advanced Grants: Cayetano González, Modesto Orozco and Angel R. Nebreda. Modesto Orozco explains, “It allowed us to be at the forefront of computational simulation research for five years, competing with the best groups in the US and northern Europe. This has clearly been a special grant with a significant impact on our research”.

The 11 IRB Barcelona projects (4 ERC Advanced Grants, 2 Starting Grants, 3 Consolidator Grants and 2 ERC Proof of Concept) have brought more than 18 M €  of funding to the institute, produced 7 patents, more than 120 papers and led to 75 employment contracts. Set up by the European Union, the ERC funds outstanding scientists throughout Europe, thus allowing them to pursue big ideas at the frontier of knowledge.


Núria López-Bigas says, “Writing an ERC grant application was exciting because it allows you to think out of the box and imagine yourself pursuing more ambitious and difficult goals.”

IRB Barcelona has been performing cutting-edge research with the support of this reference European funding agency for 10 years and hopes to continue in the same vein for many more. Happy anniversary ERC!

ERC grants supporting IRB Barcelona research



News related to the award of ERC projects

25 January 2008 Eduard Batlle awarded a European Grant to head a study on colon cancer (Eduard Batlle. ERC Starting Grant)

6 October 2011 Modesto Orozco receives an ERC Advanced Grant, the most prestigious funding awarded for scientific projects in Europe (Modesto Orozco. ERC Advanced Grant)

24 January 2012 IRB Barcelona receives 20% of the ERC Advanced Grants awarded in Spain (Cayetano González and Angel R. Nebreda. ERC Advanced Grant)

25 September 2013 IRB welcomes a scientific leader in stem cells and cancer (Salvador Aznar Benitah, ERC grant-holder. ERC Starting Grant )

26 September 2013 Eduard Batlle receives an ERC Advanced Grant to study the cells that trigger colon cancer (Eduard Batlle. ERC Advanced Grant)

14 January 2014 IRB receives 1.3 M€ from the European Research Council for investigation into Alzheimer's disease (Patrick Aloy. ERC Consolidator Grant)

22 September 2014 IRB Barcelona receives the support of the ERC to develop a test to predict metastasis of colon and liver cancer (Eduard Batlle. ERC Proof of Concept)

12 March 2015 2M€ for studying protein motions and their implications for the treatment of prostate cancer (Xavier Salvatella. ERC Consolidator Grant)

14 July 2015 ERC Proof of Concept to Angel R. Nebreda (Angel R. Nebreda. ERC Proof of Concept)

28 October 2016 IRB Barcelona intensifies its research on cancer with two new recruits (Núria López-Bigas, ERC grant-holder. ERC Consolidator Grant)

About IRB Barcelona
Created in 2005 by the Generalitat de Catalunya (Government of Catalonia) and University of Barcelona, IRB Barcelona is a Severo Ochoa Centre of Excellence, a seal that was awarded in 2011. The institute is devoted to conducting research of excellence in biomedicine and to transferring results to clinical practice, thus improving people’s quality of life, while simultaneously promoting the training of outstanding researchers, technology transfer, and public communication of science. Its 23 laboratories and seven core facilities address basic questions in biology and are orientated to diseases such as cancer, metastasis, Alzheimer’s, diabetes, and rare conditions. IRB Barcelona is an international centre that hosts more than 400 employees and 36 nationalities. It is located in the Barcelona Science Park. IRB Barcelona forms part of the Barcelona Institute of Science and Technology (BIST) and the “Xarxa de Centres de Recerca de Catalunya” (CERCA).

About IRB Barcelona

The Institute for Research in Biomedicine (IRB Barcelona) pursues a society free of disease. To this end, it conducts multidisciplinary research of excellence to offer pioneering solutions to unresolved medical needs in cancer and other diseases related to ageing. It establishes technology transfer agreements with the pharmaceutical industry and major hospitals to bring research results closer to society and organises a range of science outreach activities to engage the public in an open dialogue. IRB Barcelona is an international centre that hosts 400 employees and more than 30 nationalities. Recognised as a Severo Ochoa Centre of Excellence since 2011, IRB Barcelona is a CERCA centre and member of the Barcelona Institute of Science and Technology (BIST).